Saturday, January 10, 2009

In search of the great grey shrike ...

... with not much degree of success, I'm afraid. Lord H and I pootled off to Ash Ranges in an attempt to find the mythical great grey shrike which apparently is stationed there at the moment. "Stationed" is the operative word as the Ranges are also used for army shooting practice - and they were out and about today though there was no red flag or flashing lights up, so no shooting, thank goodness. Maybe they've already finished the poor bird off? Mind you, the walk was lovely as all the trees and grass were frosted with icicles and it was eerily misty. A perfect setting for The Hound of the Baskervilles indeed. We did manage to see some tits though.

In need of sustenance and comparative warmth, we then spent the rest of the day at Wisley, where I have finally become a member, hurrah. Lord H doesn't need to, as members can take one guest for free. Yes, after considering the various options, I decided he'd be the guest today. What a wonderful wife I am, ho ho. And our birding lists have been increased by five for this year, as we managed to see a great spotted woodpecker, a jay, a goldcrest (amazingly close), a redwing and a wren. I also actually got a robin to take some bread from my hand for the first time ever, which was definitely my highlight of the day. Totally magical and what tiny beaks they have.

Lunch in the Wisley cafe was great too - they do a mean cappuccino, and cauliflower and cumin soup to die for. Bliss. The only slight blip during our visit was the fact that when Lord H walked into the glorious greenhouse, the dramatic change in temperature meant his glasses completely steamed up so he couldn't see a thing. So he wandered round with these misty white circles on his eyes and looking like an alien. Um, yes, I laughed, a lot - thus losing any of the Wife Points I might have managed to build up this year. Ah well. I should be used to that by now.

And today's meditation poem is:

Meditation 44

Your garments
are laced

with gold thread
holding together

a life.
You bear

on your shoulders
the voices

of those you love:
they sing

like field lilies
or clouds of ravens.

Tonight, it's still bloody freezing, so we are huddling together for warmth and hoping for an early spring. Soon, please God. Nothing much on TV either - which is probably not a bad thing, as I am still in contemplative mood after the final episode of The Diary of Anne Frank yesterday. I couldn't stop crying for a while - such a bloody waste of a family's life. So very terrible. And I hadn't realised that her father had been the only one to survive the camps and didn't die until 1980. I'm still unsure whether that's a small blessing or a very long curse.

Today's nice things:

1. Five new birds for the year
2. Feeding a robin from my hand
3. Soup
4. Poetry.

Anne Brooke
Anne's website - guaranteed shrike-free

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